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Showing posts from May, 2009

My days at IIMK

Further excerpts from my biography on autopilot- sorry,autobiography.

Chapter 11: Calicut: Lola Kutty Land

There is an old joke about why mallus don’t get the time to work in Kerala. The explanation (according to the joke) is that they are too busy tying and untying their lungi. I presume it refers to the male mallus. But I think it is really unfair. I think the real explanation is that they are too busy teaching people the correct way to pronounce everything. Take the example of Calicut. Such a simple and uncomplicated name. But that would generate major unemployment in the state, because everyone can pronounce it. So, there is an official name change to Kozhikode. Even Vasco Da Gama would have lost his way, had this been done in 1498.

Many people now happily spend hours, or maybe days, educating ignorant foreigners (non- mallus) on how to pronounce Kozhikode. Come to think of it, if a movie can be made about this education, it may beat “My Fair Lady” at the box office.

Jokes apart, o…

My IIMB Student Years

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The Bangalore Years (1982-84) at IIMB

What happens to anyone who goes to an IIM is that his life changes forever. It is a unique environment, where you are forced to do many new things. The residential setup with a cosmopolitan crowd-urban, rural, northern, eastern, western, southern, young, old and so on …the diversity is amazing. The only other place I got to see this kind of diversity was in the U.S. university I went to later on. All the assumptions that you have about yourself have to be re-evaluated, in general, when you land up at such a place.

To balance the cosmopolitan students and faculty, we had a totally rural ambience of Bilekahalli where IIMB was located. We were the first inhabitants of this new campus, and faced the music in many ways. No street lights-actually, no streets in the beginning, a makeshift mess of a dining room in a shed, no computers (that was not the IIM’s fault, there weren’t any in India then), no sports facilities except open spaces, and so on. Loo…

My Encounters with Anopheles

The following is some stuff I wrote and won an award for-

My Encounters with Anopheles


I have tried to explore the meaning of what I do in my own way. Part of that exploration was through this series in which I converse with Anopheles, the female mosquito who bites.


A mosquito buzzed into my bedroom. I was sleepless anyway, so I started a conversation.

“Where are you from?” I asked.
“From the drain on Street No. 6,” the mosquito replied.

"Do you always have to travel this far for dinner?"
"Not really, but I go for quality food. So I don't really mind."

"Tell me something. Is it necessary for you to suck the blood of human beings to survive? Can't you find some other food?"

The mosquito looked surprised. "The human body has 6 litres of blood on an average. What's a drop or two for you?"

I replied, "Our sleep is disturbed, for one. And, of course, your bite is, quite literally, A PAIN."

"Do you really need so much sleep…

Autobiography Chapter 14

Chapter 14: Relatives UnlimitedI started believing in God after counting the number of relatives I had. Like him, they are omnipresent, and infinite. Unlike him, they are visible. I have benefited from this plethora of relations in many ways. Wherever I went, I would have an aunt or a cousin or a nephew to stay with. For example, I stayed with a nephew, Suren, at IIT Delhi’s Aravalli hostel when I went for an interview with the India Today group in 1984. Countless times, I stayed with various cousins and aunts in Mumbai, Pune, Baroda, Indore, Nagpur and so on. This continued even in the U.S., where we visited New York and stayed with a cousin. Niagara Falls, yet another cousin. And so on. Right now, I have relatives (and friends) in so many places in the U.S. that it seems like a second home, though I have been away for almost two decades.Excess of relatives in one place can be a bit of a problem, though. I remember when I got married, both our families were in Pune. It was a competit…